Chapter Twenty – In The Classroom


She didn't know where she was. As she stood, confused, she felt something flutter in her stomach, but deep down she knew it wasn't in her stomach. It was in her uterus. It was her baby. Ignoring the effervescent movement within her womb, she explored the dark room in which she found herself. Her hand found the wall, and she followed it around the room, looking for a door, but came up empty.

She jumped at the sound of someone else's voice echoing off the walls of the room.


"No," Ariel gasped. She knew that voice. She knew that voice like the back of her own hand.

"Oh, yes," Brody cackled.

Ariel cringed at the sound of his raspy voice. She sensed him moving around the room with her, but she couldn't see him. She couldn't see anything.

Her baby jumped within her again. Or maybe that was nerves this time.

"You stay away from me!" Ariel shouted into the darkness.

"Oh, it's not you that I want. Not anymore. It's your baby. I want it."

"Sick bastard!"

"Why do you have to be so mean? I only want one, little thing."

Ariel felt his hand on her arm and jumped back. "Don't touch me! Get away! Leave me alone!"

"Oh, don't be like that now, honey. Remember how you acted when I first came to your apartment? Remember how eager you were for me to be inside of you?"

Ariel squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head. "No, no, no, no, no! Stop it! Shut up!"

"It's okay. You don't need to worry. I don't want you anymore. I want your baby," Brody continued.

And suddenly she felt something against her stomach. She gasped and tried to jump back again, but Brody's arm caught her around the small of her back, pinning her body against his stalwart chest. That was when she realized the object against her stomach was a sharp knife.

"What are you doing?" Ariel cried out, pushing away from Brody with all of her strength.

"How many times do I have to tell you? I. Want. Your. Baby."

Ariel's eyes widened as his intentions dawned on her. He was going to cut her baby out of her.

"Get away from me!" Ariel growled and, conjuring up all of her fortitude, pushed against him, but not in time.

She felt the knife cut deep into her abdomen.

Ariel shot up in her bed, screaming, sweat coating her body. Looking around her room, she tried to calm herself with the thought that always relaxed her after the nightmare: it was just a dream, just a dream. She had grown used to waking up, screaming and sweating, but this latest nightmare had been the worst one yet. Usually in her dreams, Brody always said that he wanted her baby, but he had never actually cut her before.

And then Ariel realized that the pain hadn't gone away when she woke up; there was still a sharp cramp in her lower abdomen. Her eyes flew wide open when she felt her stomach lurch. She flung the covers off her perspiring body and bolted out of her room and into the bathroom where she continued to throw up the dinner she had eaten the previous evening.

Once Ariel had cleaned her mouth out, she began getting ready for another day of school. It was Thursday now, and she was finally getting back into the rhythm of things at Bay School of San Francisco. She was glad it was almost the weekend though. This week had been tough on her. She had stayed up practically every night, getting all of the work she had missed done. And when she wasn't working on grading papers or creating lesson plans or gathering the material she needed for the next class, she was usually throwing up or having nightmares. She was mentally and physically exhausted.

Thursday went by just as the other days. Everybody was cautious around her, and she knew why. They all knew that she was not herself. During the first weeks that Ariel had been teaching, she had been bubbly and exultant. She was still cheerful, but she had lost her the sparkle in her personality. Everyone could tell that she was sad, nearly depressed. Teachers observed her tearing up as little things reminded her of what had happened. Students caught her crying before class.

The worst part of the day was when she saw Layton's face as he sat in his designated seat in her class. She knew that he saw that she wasn't herself, and it killed her to see that sad expression on his face. It killed her even more to know that she was the one who put that expression there. She knew she needed to get better, but the more she tried, the worse it got.

And then there was the fact that she was throwing up every other hour in the bathroom. Sometimes, she could hear girls gossiping about how they thought someone was bulimic, but they didn't know who it was. Right now she could pass off puking up her intestines as the aftershock of what had happened three weeks ago, but soon enough her belly was going to show the real reason she was getting morning sickness at all hours of the day.

Plus, she knew there was a rule that required pregnant teachers to be either engaged or married. This was, after all, a Catholic high school. And she didn't know what she was going to do about that. She would be about seven months pregnant by the time school let out, so the three months for summer would be no help trying to hide her delicate condition. She already had so much stress on her plate; she didn't know what she was going to do about anything these days.

For her mental health, Ariel decided to think about the here and now. She didn't want to think about her future. She was half certain that she was going to be fired. She could argue the case by saying she had been raped while she was kidnapped; she knew the school would have to let her keep her job, but she would never go through with that plan. She always felt excessively guilty after lying.

But her days always got better around lunchtime. That was when Layton strolled into her classroom, followed shortly after by Princess. Ariel was amazed that only one month ago, she dreaded the moment when he entered her classroom; now she craved his presence.

"So I want you to meet my parents," Layton said as soon as he sauntered into her classroom one afternoon.

Ariel looked up from the worksheet she was making on her computer, "Okay. When?"


"That soon?" Ariel asked.

"Why not?"

"You haven't given me any time to get ready."

"Why does it matter?"

"Because I'm meeting my—" she stopped in midsentence.

Layton smiled. "Your, what?"

"What exactly are we?" Ariel finally asked.

"That's your choice. I distinctly remember asking you to be my girlfriend during the Code Purple, but you said 'no' because you're my teacher," Layton replied.

Ariel sat in her chair quietly, thinking. She already knew that she was inevitably going to be fired. Maybe, it would be the right thing to start an actual, serious relationship with the father of her baby. Maybe, she should try to be Layton's girlfriend.

"Well, if the offer is still open…"


"I mean, you are my baby's daddy. It would only seem right."

Layton smiled. "Good. I like the thought of you being my girlfriend."

"It's not as appalling as I thought it might be," Ariel replied with a small smile.


Ariel pulled into Layton's driveway right on time. She had never been to his house before and was completely overwhelmed by the largeness of it all. Her father was a doctor, so she wasn't unaccustomed to expensive delicacies, but she lived in a fairly reasonable house, not one of this magnitude.

Before she could really take in its magnificent features, a blonde haired, brown-eyed fourteen-year-old girl skipped gracefully down the front steps to greet her guest. Ariel beamed, glad to see that Princess was doing better since the incident.

"Ooh, you look so pretty," Princess complimented as they walked to the front door. "Why are you so pale?"

"Nervous," Ariel replied.

"Really? Well, you shouldn't be. My parents practically adore you."


"You make Layton want to go to school, and no other teacher has ever done that before," she explained.

"I guess that's a plus."

"Mom! Dad! Layton!" Princess called once they had entered the foyer of the house.

"Oh, hello!" A tall, elegant woman wearing a petite apron over a classy dress came through the door that led to the kitchen, trailing a deliciously aromatic scent after her.

Ariel was getting ready to introduce herself when the hostess threw her arms around Ariel's shoulders and gave her the warmest hug she had ever received. Her amiability was a pleasant surprise for Ariel, whose nerves were slowly dwindling. Mrs. Jones pulled back to look her over. "You are a lovely woman; you look so beautiful. Oh, allow me to introduce myself, Ariel. I'm obviously Princess's mother, and, of course, Layton's. You can call me Emma. I've heard so much about you. All good things, don't worry."

Ariel could tell whom Princess took after in appearance and personality. Ariel heard a chuckle behind Emma and looked up to see a man who eerily resembled Layton. He had the exact same green eyes and skin tone and the physique of a gym membership holder, even though he had to be in his late forties.

"It's good to finally meet you," Mr. Jones said as he held out a strong, firm hand for Ariel to shake. "We've heard a lot about you. You can call me Madison."

"You have a very lovely house," Ariel commented.

"Thank you, dear. Come in, come in. Would you like a glass of wine? Of course you would; I mean, you put up with our son five days a week. You must desire some type of alcoholic drink every night after dealing with him at school. Granted, I do understand you have some feelings for Layton. I am so glad that you caught his eye though. Some of the girls I found in his bed simply creep me out. They had tattoos and piercings in places I don't even want to think about. At least, Layton is infatuated with someone who has a nice, intelligent head on her shoulders. I hear you skipped grades during school? That's impressive. Now, I do have a question for you. I mean, I think I read somewhere when Layton was freshman at BSSF that teachers weren't allowed to have relationships with students. So, how exactly is this working out? Are you keeping it a secret? Because that would be so scandalous if someone found out. Do you think you would get fired? Actually, you probably wouldn't have to worry about that." In a lower voice, Emma continued, "You see, we donate a large sum of money, so the school owes us big time, and I am sure if we asked them, they wouldn't even think of firing you."

Ariel was so overwhelmed with Emma's wandering mind that she was surprised when Emma handed her a glass of wine, already forgetting that Emma had asked and answered herself when she offered Ariel some wine. Ariel politely declined the delicious looking liquid and continued to chat with Emma and Princess in the kitchen as the food continued cooking.

"Where's Layton?" Emma asked Princess.

Princess shrugged her shoulders just as Ariel spit out some of the water that was in her mouth before she choked on it from the sight she saw. Emma and Princess turned and looked in the direction that Ariel was gawking. Emma's brown eyes widened as Princess stifled a giggle into her palm. Layton was standing in the doorway, shocked as he was dressed only in a thin towel wrapped around his hips.

"I thought you were coming over at six," Layton said, breaking the silence.

Blush rose on Ariel's cheeks as she averted her eyes, not wanting Emma to see where her eyes really desired to meander.

"Layton, go get dressed. And hurry up; dinner's almost ready," Emma commanded.

Layton flashed a side smile in Ariel's direction and then hurried to do his mother's bidding.

"Sorry about that. Layton's very clueless," Emma said.

"Oh, I know," Ariel replied with a small smile.

A few minutes later, the entire family and Ariel were seated around the dinner table, and Ariel was actually quite enjoying herself. The teasing family banter was something that she missed since she had left her own family to move to California.

Layton gently grabbed her hand under the table and rubbed his thumb over her knuckles. Ariel did her best not to exhibit any sign of how his touch affected her to the rest of the family. Instead, she continued to join in the colorful conversation they were having.

When Emma got up to get the dessert and Madison was involved in a playful bicker with Princess, Ariel leaned into Layton. "Have you told them about…?" Her eyes trailed down to her stomach.

"I was going to wait until you were ready," Layton whispered back.

Ariel smiled. "Thank you."


"Hey," Layton said with a smile as he took his usual seat in one of the front desks during lunch on Friday of the next week.

Even though Layton had eaten lunch with Ariel in her classroom every day since she had come back to teach, they had also made going to lunch a regular occurrence during the weekend. Once, they had even walked the beach that was by Layton's house on a sunny day. Ariel profoundly enjoyed Layton as a boyfriend. He had definitely matured since Ariel had first met him. 'A near-death experience can do that to someone' is how Ariel explained his abrupt maturity. One trouble for both Ariel and Layton was getting Princess to keep her mouth shut about their relationship at school. Nobody could know about it. Not a soul.

"Hi," Ariel replied with a ghost of a smile. She had been working on smiling more. She tried her best to look as if she were happy at least eighty percent of the time. And her fake smiles were actually looking more like genuine smiles now.

"You've been crying," Layton observed, searching her face.

"No. My eyes just get really red whenever I get sick," Ariel argued.

"I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault," she replied.

"Well, technically, it is. I mean, I'm the one who impregnated you, which is why you're throwing up."


"You what!?" A third voice entered the classroom.

Layton and Ariel both turned wide-eyed to the open classroom door where one of Layton's classmates stood. Layton's eyes relaxed, and a small smile formed on his lips when he realized it was only Erin Fallon, Layton's previous fuck toy, but Ariel's shocked and worried expression remained on her face. Well, shit. There went her job.

Erin slowly walked into the room, her expression still one of shock. And then suddenly her face broke out into a huge grin. She lifted her palm up and high-fived Layton. "Knocking up the teacher—that's a new milestone for you, pal," Erin said.

Ariel blinked.

"I've seriously outdone myself this time," Layton returned proudly.

"Congrats, man. This is a new record. Nobody could surpass you now."

"You can't tell anyone!" Ariel finally blurted out.

"Hell no. I don't want you fired, prof. You're one of the coolest, nicest teachers here. Besides, I knew one of these days Layton was going to knock some girl up. I'm just glad it's somebody who is going to be able to take care of a baby. At least, you're a full grown woman with a sturdy future, not some dumb bimbo," Erin replied.

Ariel could breathe again. At least, she would have her job a little longer to pay the bills before she was kicked to the curb.

"Yeah, well, I'm not going to have this job that much longer," Ariel mumbled.

"What?" Both Layton and Erin turned to look at Ariel with perplexed expressions.

"The school's policy is that a teacher has to be engaged or married if she's pregnant," Ariel answered. "Seeing as I'm neither, I'm going to be fired when I start showing."

Erin turned towards Layton and slapped him on the back of his head with her palm. Layton flinched and brought his hand up to rub his throbbing skull.

"Ouch. What the hell was that for?" Layton asked, bewildered by the sudden violence.

"You haven't asked her marry you yet? You're such a dick." Erin rolled her green eyes.

"Well, I was, you moron, but now you ruined the surprise," Layton replied harshly, glaring at Erin.

Erin's eyes widened. "Oh, shit, dude. Sorry, my bad," Erin replied, feeling utterly guilty.

"What?" Ariel gasped, searching Layton's eyes for any sign of a joke, but found nothing except complete sincerity.

"Well, yeah, I was going to ask you if you wanted to go out to dinner with me tonight, and then I was going to pull this ring out," Layton said as he reached into his uniform pocket and pulled out a little, red box, "and I was going to get down on one knee," Layton said as he got out of the desk and knelt on his right knee, "and then I was going to say how you've changed me, and how I never thought I would feel this way about a girl, and it's completely new for me, and how I feel like I've been searching for the right one, and now I have found her, and how I want to spend the rest of my life with you and our baby, and all I want to do is make you happy and give you everything your heart desires." Layton finished as he popped the box open, and both girls gasped at the sparkling diamond nestled in the velvet of the box. Layton continued, "Well, this isn't as romantic as I wanted it to be. I didn't think I would be proposing in my high school classroom in my uniform, but somebody," Layton glared at Erin, "ruined the surprise and the romantic evening I had planned for us tonight. I'm sorry for that, but, Ariel, if you would say 'yes,' you would make me the happiest—"

Layton didn't get to finish his speech because suddenly his lips were working against something much more entertaining. Ariel had grasped his arm and gently pulled him to his feet before she wrapped her arms around his shoulders and kissed him more passionately than she had ever kissed him before.

"Is that a 'yes'?" Layton nervously chuckled.

"That's a 'hell yes,'" Ariel giggled as Layton placed the large stone on her left ring finger.

"But your parents…?"

"I'm almost twenty years old; they aren't exactly the boss of me anymore." Layton smiled down at Ariel.

And for the first time in almost a month, Ariel felt completely light and carefree. "I love you, Layton," she whispered as she wrapped her arms around Layton again.

"I love you too, Ariel," Layton murmured into her hair before he kissed her earlobe.

"Well, I feel like a third wheel," Erin commented, taking a step back from the couple in front of her.

"Would you get out of here?" Layton glared at Erin.

"Well, I came in here for a reason," Erin snapped back, a little playfully, but half serious.

"And what is it that you want?" Layton grinded out, totally serious.

"I wanted Ariel's help. I hear you're an amazing English teacher, and I'm practically failing out of my English class," Erin explained.

"Yes, I can help you. My extra help days are on Thursdays, but if you need me before then, just come to me in the morning. I'm here around seven twenty," Ariel replied, trying not to sound as if she were in a hurry.

"Sounds like a plan. And I'm sorry for ruining your romantic surprise. I'll make it up to you sometime." Erin chuckled nervously and waved before she scurried out of the classroom to leave Ariel and Layton to themselves.

"She better make it up to you. I had reservations at Husk and everything."

"Husk? That place is expensive" Ariel asked.

"Money isn't an issue, sweetheart," Layton replied, moving his hands down to Ariel's flat stomach and rubbing it gently.

Ariel giggled from the tickling sensation Layton sent through her entire system.


Layton waited at a small table set for two. He was sporting a nice suit with a clean white button-down cuffed shirt underneath a black jacket that matched his slacks and tie. To further prove he meant business, he was wearing his new cologne that his sister had helped him pick out after school. For the first time since Brody had entered their lives, he had seen a small piece of the bubbly Princess from before. He knew that she acted happy on the outside at school and around their parents, but she was still miserable inside. But, while they were shopping, Princess was curious as to why this cologne was so important, and Layton filled her in on what had happened during lunch. Princess had squealed and actually jumped in the air before she hugged and congratulated her brother. She then proceeded to try every cologne until she found the one that she knew Ariel would just fall in love with.

Layton jumped up when he spotted Ariel at the entrance of the restaurant. His eyes nearly bugged out of his head at the sight of her. Ariel was dressed in a black, curve-hugging, floor length gown that had a slit, showing off one silky, tan leg that was capped of in a silver stiletto. Her toes were sophisticatedly painted black to match her dress, and a silver necklace harmonized with her heels. The décolletage of the dress made a low, yet classy, V. But the best part of Ariel's attire was the large ring that sparkled as she walked towards Layton. He didn't even mind all the other males staring after her as she walked towards him because he knew that she was all his.

A twinge of possessiveness pinched his nerves as he noticed other men's gazes landing on Ariel as she walked to Layton. When Ariel made it to their table, Layton greeted her with a light kiss on the lips, asserting his claim, before he pulled her seat out for her.

She was pleasantly surprised, having never been treated like this before. The first and only boyfriend she ever had treated her like just another guy friend. He had even lightly punched her on the arm after she had made a joke, just like what he would do to his buddies. She had been livid when she arrived home and refused to see him outside of school again. But now her heart fluttered when Layton's hand lightly brushed against her shoulder as he went back to take his seat in front of her.

"So, you see, this is when I was planning on presenting you with the ring. Much more romantic than in the classroom," Layton began conversationally.

"It doesn't matter. I would have said 'yes' in either place." Ariel smiled.

"Erin owes me big time for ruining my plans," Layton said lightly.

"Layton…" Ariel started and then decided against it.


"Never mind."

"Tell me, Ariel." Layton searched Ariel's eyes.

Ariel took a deep breath. There had been something bothering her after she had gotten home from school, but she was worried about how Layton would react when she told him of her worries. Would he fidget? Would he avoid the answer? If he did those things, then Ariel would know that her worries were accurate.

"Ariel," Layton said in a stern voice, "what's wrong?"

"Did you propose to me only because you felt obligated to? Because of the baby, I mean," Ariel blurted out before she could take it back.

"Of course not," Layton answered smoothly.

"Really?" Ariel looked up hopefully.

"Yes. When I first realized that you hadn't been taken to the hospital and that you were in Brody's hands, I felt miserable, and so many thoughts went through my mind. Do you know what the most prominent thought was? I thought that 'if we got through this together, if we survived this whole ordeal, I wanted you to myself.' Not just in a fuck toy kind of way; I wanted to be more mature than that. I wanted you to want me just as much as I wanted you. And the only way I could really know if you wanted me was to marry you. Th baby is just a catalyst. Sure, I wasn't planning on proposing so soon; I wanted to date you, gain your confidence and trust in me. But in the end, I wanted marriage and I wanted you.

"I don't think you realize how much you've changed me. I never would have thought about marriage before I met you. I was just a nineteen-year-old boy acting like a sixteen-year-old boy. When I realized how much I desired to be in your presence, I knew that you had to be the one. I have never felt like this around anybody else, except you. And I know that I really do want to spend the rest of my life with you."

Ariel was hanging on to every word that he spoke. She hadn't realized how much her feelings for him had changed. She also hadn't realized how much he had developed since they first met. Ariel smiled at him and lightly sighed in contentment.

"I'm glad you did ask me to marry you," Ariel replied. "Ever since I first met you that first day of school when you swaggered into my classroom, I couldn't stop thinking about you. And when you…left me that first night we were together, I almost went into a severe depression. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't think straight. I just wanted you out of my head, but you wouldn't leave. All of my thoughts were centered on you."

"I really am sorry. I was so stupid to do that. I was going through some internal fight. Do you know why I left you that night?" Layton asked.

"You told me in the classroom before the Code Purple that you were 'happy,' so you left me," Ariel replied with a smile playing at her lips.

"Yeah. That's sort of why, but to elaborate on the subject… I left you because I wanted you, and that scared me. I didn't do serious; I didn't do commitment. I was used to one night stands. I was used to being satisfied after I got what I wanted, and then I'd ditch the chick and was fine with that. But after I woke up next you during the night, I felt as if I wanted more. I wanted more than just a one night stand and I wasn't used to that. I thought if I just followed the usual routine, everything would go back to normal, but it didn't. I still wanted you. It was more than just wanting to sleep with you; it was more like I wanted you to want me, but I knew that could never happen after everything I put you through," Layton explained.

"You were wrong," Ariel said quietly. "And that's why I was so angry with you. But the thing was I was angrier with myself than with you. I was mad that I wanted you even though you had treated me like any other worthless slut. I was upset that even though you thought of me as nothing more than a game to be conquered, I wanted you. That was why I was upset when you confronted me after school that day," Ariel replied.

"And here I was thinking this whole time I was the one to blame for your anger," Layton said heartily.

"You were half of the reason." And then suddenly her nostrils were engulfed with a sweet, almost musky, scent. "You smell really nice," she complimented with an animalistic feeling in the pit of her stomach.

"Princess will be glad you said that."

"She picked the cologne out?" Ariel asked. And then something clicked. "You told her."

"You can't keep secrets from Princess. It's impossible," Layton said, remembering when, in the boys' locker room, she had convinced him to admit to her that he actually had true feelings for Ariel after their first night together.

"Oh, I know," Ariel agreed, recalling when Princess had wheedled her way into getting Ariel to tell her all about what happened the night Layton had left her after they had slept together for the first time. "Well, now it makes sense why I have four missed calls from her."

"Oh, yeah, after we left the store, Princess wanted me to drop her off at your apartment, so she could help you pick out your outfit, but I told her that she needed to leave you alone for now. I mean, soon enough, she's going to be your sister-in-law, and you are going to get an earful of her," Layton said casually. "By the way, you look beautiful."

"Thanks. I figured I should go ahead and wear some of my dresses since I won't be able to in a few months," she replied.

"I'm glad Princess didn't come over. I like what you picked out so much better."

Ariel's heart sped up at the thought of Princess. Her mind flew back to when Layton had mentioned the word 'sister-in-law.' She was going to be married soon; the huge ring on her finger reminded her of it. She couldn't believe how much had gone on in her life in so little time. She had even started planning some of the little details of her wedding with her mother over the phone as soon as she had gotten home from school. And while she was talking with her mother, she realized she had a lot of planning to do with Layton, like where the wedding would be. Ariel was certain that it was probably going to be in California, but then her father was going to need to get off work somehow—and being a doctor didn't leave a lot of time for vacations. And the date of the wedding was another big deal. She was sure that Layton would want to wait until after college, at least, so he could have his future set in stone.

"What's on your mind?" Layton asked.

"I was thinking about the date of the wedding," Ariel answered. "I think it would be best to wait until after you get out of college, or, at least, until your final year, but I was also thinking that I wanted to be married before the baby is born. So, I guess, I'm just really confused right now."

"Well, it's your wedding, so I am okay with anything you want," Layton answered.

"Anything?" Ariel asked, glancing down at her menu, avoiding his gaze.

"Of course," Layton assured her, searching her face.

"How many family members do you have?" Ariel asked.

"Not many. Only my parents, Princess, and one grandparent. Why?"

"Nothing. We'll talk about the details when it gets closer to the date." Ariel lost her confidence.

"Ariel, you can tell me anything. I am your fiancée after all." Layton reached out and gently placed his hand over hers.

Her heart thumped again at the word. "Do you think that, maybe, we could have the wedding in my hometown? I totally understand if you don't want to. After all, you have lived here all your life, and you might have some sort of tradition here. We don't have to if you don't want to. I know that plane tickets are really expensive. And if your parents don't want to fly all the way to South Carolina, I would be happy to have it here. I'm sure my dad can take off work for a couple of days. He would do that for me. I am his only daughter, and—"

"Ariel, stop rambling. Like I said, it's your wedding. We can have it wherever you want it. If you want to have it in your hometown, then we will. Money isn't an issue with my family, I promise. And please next time, don't feel nervous to ask about anything for the wedding. It's yours. All yours."

Ariel looked up into Layton's eyes. "I love you so much; I can't even describe it in words."

Layton smiled his signature side smile and leaned across the table to lightly kiss Ariel on the lips.

Four hours later, Layton and Ariel were reenacting the first time Layton had ever come over to Ariel's apartment. Ariel felt like a teenage girl again as she fumbled with the keys to her door, breathless and excited as she anticipated what was about to happen. As soon as the door was carefully closed and locked behind them, Layton pressed Ariel against the wall as his lips and hands explored her body. Ariel was completely out of breath when she huffed out, "Bedroom."

Layton caught Ariel underneath her legs and carried her back to her room in the dark, knowing her apartment so well, while their lips were connected. He laid her down gently on the bed, making sure not to ruin her dress as he carefully crawled on top of her, hoisting himself above her. And then he remembered her delicate condition.

"Wait…should we have sex while you're pregnant?" he asked nervously. He wanted to have sex with her so badly that if she said he couldn't, he might tear out his hair in frustration.

"The best time for a woman to have sex is when she's pregnant." Ariel smiled up to him.

Layton cocked his eyebrow. "Why is that?"

"Because she can't get pregnant."

Layton chuckled and then continued to undress her.

~Chelsea Elizabeth